As we near the end of the year, the literary SF/F award season is ready to crash down upon us. Many of the year's best anthologies have announced their picks, the Nebulas are open for nominations, and everyone has an opinion about which stories are award-worthy.
In a few weeks I'll release my complete list of the stories and books I plan to nominate for the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and other awards. But before then, I want to highlight one story which will absolutely be on my year's best list. In fact, it's hard to argue that this isn't hands down the best short story of the year.
The story I refer to is the amazing "Movement" by Nancy Fulda, originally published in the March 2011 Asimov's and reprinted online in both print and audio formats by Escape Pod.
As Nancy says over on her blog, "Movement" is about a "teenage girl with a fictional variant of autism and it toys with the intersections between neurology, temporal dynamics, evolution, and chaos theory." But as with all great stories, that summary doesn't begin to do it justice. I suggest you immediately go read it.
I think the reason I relate to the story's narrator is I have a similar sense of time and place. Perhaps this results from working as an archeologist, or perhaps this sense was always there. I simply can't help looking at the world and seeing it as if I'm an archeologist excavating everything from a thousand years in the future.
This hard SF story is insightful, lyrically written, moving, and eye-opening while retaining an almost effortless flow, and is one of the few stories I've immediate reread upon finishing. I only hope that one day I can write a story equally as full of insight, emotion, and truth as "Movement."